It’s been some time since I’ve posted but I’ve been busy. Being a dog and taking care of Mom is hard work, especially after she broke her arm in February. Anyway, this is one of her books (again?) and one that has been a long time in coming. As the seventh installment in the Orchard Hills contemporary inspirational series, it was written quite a while ago and do a series of unusual event was delayed in making it into readers hands. Until today. Truffles and Traffic is finally available!
Now Jo March has some skeletons in her closet and after a shoot out on her job as a Wisconsin State Patrol officer, she finds that these nasty beasts are starting to show themselves, especially after she runs into her ex-husband at church of all places. She’s not sure about God but her partner on the force encouraged her to come and since she couldn’t use work as an excuse she humored him.
When Benjamin Elliot spies his ex-wife at church he had already been praying from her healing, since he’d heard about the shooting incident on the news. He’d always loved her and never told Jo the truth of all that happened years ago when their marriage blew up. Now she’s at church and he’s worried that unless he confesses all that happened three years ago, it might be a stumbling block in her coming to know Christ.
Reconciling the past and the present and the stories she told herself about events, as well as the trauma of a shooting lead Jo on a path of discovery. She’d always loved Ben and the hurt had never gone away. When she finally knows the truth will it set her free to pursue God? Will Benjamin’s truffles make the journey all the sweeter?
And what about Ben? What will that do for their “relationship” if there ever is one. Add in her partner Geoff and Benjamin’s sister Molly and you have the makings of some interesting interactions. Can God restore all that was lost years ago and make something fresh and beautiful from the ashes?
You’ll have to read it to find out. I give this story 5 tennis balls because I think it’s that good. And even though I’m and old dog even I can agree that those who serve in law enforcement deserve respect and our prayers. And I’m still waiting for mom to give me a truffle. She says chocolate isn’t good for me. Humph.
The ebook is available now but the print version releases July 7, 2023.
Well, Mom finally is making me write book reviews and ironically she’s making me review a book she co-authored with her friend DeeDee Lake.
I will say that the biggest selling point in a book is 1) my Mom sits and reads so I can snuggle with her and 2) if there is a dog in it. This book excells in both those areas in my opinion (three dogs! Woof!)
Operation: Allegiance is book two in the Rules of Engagement Military Romance series and features Alexandros Sava who is an Army helicopter pilot wounded on the job (but not the kind of battle you might think – no spoilers!) He meets the twin of Brooke who features in book 1, Operation: Camouflage Christmasthat came out last year. Kobbe is a twin and little less enamoured of the military lifestyle than her twin sister. So much so that she has vowed to never marry a military man.
God has a sense of humor right? Two individuals set on a path that would automatically keep them apart and yet somehow through as series of events works things out for love to bloom. Not without conflicts and barriers to ultimate happiness the authors work to bring it all out to a wonderful happily-ever-after ending.
I recommend this book highly. It has adventure, angst, family, love, conflict, faith, and suspense at times. And three dogs. Don’t forget the three dogs! Obediah, Lola, and Hunter show up in supporting roles although I admit my puppy dog heart ached for what Hunter endured. Although poodles are kind of silly dogs, I wouldn’t wish that on any dog. He’s OK though so don’t fret. Oh, and check out their Rules of Engagement blog: https://rulesofengagementmilitaryromance.com/ where they feature real life military stories!
Get this book! I highly recommended it and like my predecessor, Spatzle (RIP) I will give it five bones because I don’t have thumbs either. Or maybe I should give it five squeaky tennis balls? OK that will my thing now since I’m in charge here.
I have a distinct privelege of knowing the author of this book and the young man who was adopted. See, a few years back my mom needed to make a trip and the younger kids would be gone and she understood that I, her favorite and only dog at the time, needed someone to stay with me. Ionut was that person and we became best buds.
Barbara Kuhls, author of Standby for God is someone who clearly believes that when God speaks (and He does if only we’d listen) then we must obey. Her book is the story of how Barbara and her husband came to adopt a special needs child, even though their own children were grown and out of the house. Instead of enjoying the empty nest, God called them to open their hearts and homes to a young man few people would ever want to take the chance of adopting.
Adoption is pricey but adopting a child with special needs makes adjusting more challenging. Making those needs emotional as well as physical can make it doubly difficult. Barb tells the story step by step and it is fun now to see the young man, still charming and sociable, making his way in the world enjoying a life no one could have ever hoped for, simply because two people heard God’s voice and prayerfully and fearfully obeyed that call.
Adoption isn’t for everyone (although my mom adopted me, but then I’m a dog), but whether you are interetsted in adopting or not, this book will encourage you to do whatever God calls you to do, because the risks and cost are worth it in the end.
This is a shorter read. The chapters are not long and the story unfolds at a good pace. I highly recommend it and if you ever question whether a life is valuable, in spite of any perceived deficienies, this story proves that God can and will use any and all for His purposes and glory.
Of course, I’m giving this five bones because Ionut is my buddy, although now that he flies off around the world he hasn’t been to visit in a long time (hint, hint).
My mom and her friend DeeDee Lake have conspired to start a new series of books called Rules of Engagement. The first installation, a novella, is Operation: Camouflage Christmas. Do you realize how hard it is to spell that with paws?
So mom and DeeDee spent lots of time bringing Brook and Bernard to life in this story. How do you fall in love when in Army Officer Cadet School at Fort Benning, GA?
Brooke has been disappointed in love and she’s resolved to move on even as the date for a wedding she was supposed to star in, nears. Instead, she’s distracted by the rigors of training and also a series of gifts that show the sender knows more about her than most people, which has her perplexed and hoping.
Bernard fell in love with Brooke when they were in high school but she was off-limits. When they met up again she was engaged, but now? Brooke is free and as much as he wants to make it through OCS, he wants to win Brooke’s heart even more. Will she ever see that it’s him? Would she even return his affections? And how would that work when relationships are forbidden in training?
I highly recommend this book for a sweet romance as well as a peek behind the scenes of the challenges our soldiers go through to become officers. It’s not for the faint of heart. Get it! Now! And write a review please? I give the book five bones because I’m a dog and that’s how I roll.
Karen Malley wrote this sweet story of love, forgiveness, and being careful about judging people before you have all the facts. The Christmas Missionwill warm your heart.
Nicole is the main character who has experienced some of the hardships of life at a young age but has her life on track with a job and going to college. Working at smoothie shop is a sweet gig when that is where you meet the man of your dreams.
Or so Nicole thought. After meeting Michael and his family things seems great–until she learns the truth about who he really is. When her father re-emerges in her life word gets back to Michael about Nicole not being as pure and honest as he suspected. Could two people ever be so confused?
Christmas is a time for love and forgiveness and Karen Malley weaves a beautifully crafted story that will warm your heart and give you a deeper appreciation for the many gifts you’ve been given. No dogs. Again. But what can I say? I’m a sucker for romance.
I’m giving this book five bones. Read it and enjoy every moment!
Mom has enjoyed the writings of author Penelope Marzec and her latest release, Angel of the L Train was exceptionally well done if you were to ask Mom. But that doesn’t matter because as her dog I rule this part of the blog so only my opinion really counts.
Thea Ahern is recently hired by a New York City gossip rag called LetSlip. She’s eager to work and earn money to support her mother’s nursing home care, but in the process has to hide her heritage. After a tragic incident on the subway, she assists a man who was brutally attacked and saves his life. Now the papers dub her the Angel of the L Train. Suddenly her anonymity is challenged as people see the resemblance between her and her mother who used to be a famous actress.
John is asked to shadow Thea because his boss believes her to be a way to uncover the truth about what happened to Thea’s mother. John understands the desire to hide from the past and he seeks to protect her from media scrutiny. When the CEO of LetSlip is murdered while John is in the building, his own dark past is revealed. How can he protect her and keep his job? Can Thea ever forgive him when she discovers his past–and his true reason for watching over her?
This is an excellent read filled with adventure and obstacles for the characters to overcome, but also heart as Thea and John both care deeply for family and would sacrifice to protect those they love. I give it five bones because I’m a dog and that’s how I roll.
I’ve been praying and waiting on God for an answer to those specific prayers. Some for me, some for others. The waiting is hard. I was sharing with a friend one of my favorite instances of God answering prayer for me so thought maybe I’d share it here too.
I don’t like coffee. Never have. When I worked in Milwaukee someone introduced me to spiced chai latte and I fell in love with that. This was before Starbucks and the only place I could get it was at Einstein Bros. Bagels. So some mornings I would do that. I discovered that they used Big Train Chai so eventually I found out where I could purchase that myself and started buying it.
When I moved north to live in a tiny mobile home to become a stay-at-home mom to two little boys and eventually add a daughter, I would make my chai early in the morning and sit and have my quiet time. It became part of my routine. God and me and a cup of chai tea.
My hubby at the time would go through phases where he liked chai or would lecture me about enjoying the sugary drink. I took it to my naturopath and asked him: “Is this bad for me?” He tested it and said: “It’s neutral. Enjoy your chai.” I continued to do that.
I only had one cup in the morning. That’s it. Rarely any other time. One day I noticed my supply was low so I ordered some. My hubby found the box after it had been delivered and this was one of those times he chose to lecture me. He brought the box into the kitchen and yelled.
“Why did you buy this? You shouldn’t be having sugar. You can’t have this.” He grabbed the box and put it in the laundry room. Unopened.
He dared deny me my one little enjoyment in the challenges of raising kids. If you’re a coffee drinker insert that in there and how would you feel? I was livid and told him I did not appreciate being yelled at and demands made of me. He ignored me and went about his day.
I really wanted to honor God in submitting to my husband even if he was being a class-A jerk. So I prayed. God, I don’t need chai. I can live without it. I don’t want this to be an idol so I’m going to trust You. If You, Lord want me to have chai You will have my husband bring that box into the kitchen, open it, and empty a bag into the container.
Friday came. It had been about a week. I had enjoyed my very last cup of chai and washed the container I stored the powder in. I again let God know I was fine if I couldn’t have chai. I would trust Him.
Later that afternoon, my husband rushed into the house and opened the cupboard, and exclaimed, “Where’s the chai?”
“It’s gone. I just washed out the container,” I responded.
“Didn’t you buy more?”
“Yes.” He didn’t remember this? He’d been pretty angry about the purchase and my desire to enjoy it.
“Where is it?” he demanded.
“On the dryer in the laundry room,” I responded and stood back to watch what might happen next.
Hubby rushed down the hall, grabbed the box, and brought it to the kitchen. He placed it on the counter, and with scissors, broke the tape and pulled out a bag of chai. He cut open the bag at the top and poured it into the container I had washed that morning. He then proceeded to make himself a cup of chai and left the house to return to his office.
I said nothing but inside I praised God. Apparently for me, at this point in my life, I could enjoy chai with the blessing of God. Never again did my husband do anything like that although I have many other stories I could share where I obeyed him even when he was rude, controlling, and unreasonable. Yet God answered my obedience and the prayers I said in those moments to reveal that He loves me, hears me, sees the challenges I face. God not only gives us what I need but delights in giving His children some of the simple things we want.
I need to remind myself of those stories. There were dark years of poverty and verbal abuse, along with a challenging firstborn son who had mental health issues. Being a stay-at-home mom is not for the faint of heart. God was still there in those days giving me moments of joy. First with His presence and then in the unexpected but very much wanted answers to prayers.
Sometimes the answers were no. Sometimes it took years before I could understand the reason for the timing of those prayers. But now I thank Him for those no’s because they were really more of a “not yet, I have something so much better for You. Wait for my perfect timing.”
Life is hard at times and we can’t see the big picture but when I recite to myself the ways God has worked, they become markers, like they used to do in the Old Testament, of an intimate encounter with the Most High God. A way to remind me that God is personally involved in my life for His glory…if I only wait on Him.
God gave me a different man for a partner and you know what? He will get my hot water started if he awakes before me. When we travel, he will go out of his way to buy me a cup of chai in the morning. Maybe I don’t get to enjoy it with God at that moment, but I get to enjoy it with one of His many blessings, a man who treats me well.
Wait on God. His answers to prayer are all the sweeter for the wait.
How have you seen God answer prayers? Take note and remind yourself of His faithfulness to you!
My mom really likes the writings of Kimberly Miller, mainly because she likes music. I do as well but prefer soft jazz. Too bad I don’t get to listen to that while she reads. Mom? Hint! Hint! Anyway, Kimberly’s new book, Flowers for Hattie will be a sweet read for those who like romance, flowers, and music. It’s a winning combination.
Hattie Campanelli is an unusual woman. Sacrificial and hard-working, giving up her own dreams to help others in need. Oh, she also has blue hair, tattoos, and prefers t-shirts with snarky sayings. She isn’t the least bit intersted in dating.
Finn Winslow is a pianist for a rock band getting some rest and looking for a muse for his own compositions which are anything but rock. He may look like a bad boy musician but he’s more khakis than blue-jeans and quiet nights on the beach vs the noisy club scene.
When Finn runs into Hattie, or her into him, Finn is thrown for a loop. She doesn’t look anything like his “type” but he can’t get her out of his mind. She becomes the inspiration for him to write the instrumental love song he’s always longed to create. Now if he can just figure out how to get her to like him back. The more he learns about the enigmatic young woman, the more he likes.
Hattie finds Finn cute but a distraction, or maybe a way out of a financial dilemma the pregnancy home she helps run, is desperate for. Conscience collides with pride and desperate need, and is fueled by the persistence of the winsome Finn. But can she let go of her fears and trust a man? Could Finn win her heart?
You need to read this story. Mom gave me lots of snuggles and said it was great. The characters are fun and the story has twists and turns that might surprise you. I give it five bones because I’m a dog and that’s how I roll.
I’m not military but have had family members who were. In spite of that, I have held great admiration for our men and women in uniform. So many have died to protect the freedoms we hold dear and today is our day to pause, reflect, and remember their sacrifice.
And maybe we need to ask ourselves: Are we helping to preserve our freedoms from within? Do you vote? Have you read the constitution? Some have said, and I believe it, that if our nation is to fall, it will be from within, not without. Day by day, and week by week, we see the values our soldiers have fought and died for being trampled.
In honor of them…we too should be willing to fight for our country in our own way, in our own communities.
After years of verbal abuse, I finally realized I had lapsed into helplessness and hopelessness. A friend once said to me, “Susan, you need hope.” I loved and served and prayed to Jesus and believed He was fully capable of rescuing me from my prison of pain.
During this time, I lead our church’s women’s ministry, and spent time encouraging other women and teaching them.
But I was stuck. I began to realize I was thinking and acting like a victim. A powerless victim. The more I read and understood about verbal abuse (which includes financial abuse and neglect and more), the more I began to seek the help I needed to grow and thrive even in the midst of my difficulty. Oh, I still cried, but I grew in my confidence and my ability to find the good in the midst of the pain.
I still struggled for hope that I would ever one day be released. The wonderful news is by the time I was, I was ready for the new life God had in store for me. The fears from the past had melted away. The belief that I was inadequate and unable to stand on my own, was gone. When God opened that door, freeing me, I was ready to walk into my new life without fear. He provided for me every step along the way and looking back I can only say it was by His grace that I made it, because on paper, I should never have been able to.
By God’s grace, I became a hero, a protagonist in my own story, not a pathetic byline. Now ultimately Jesus is the real hero. It was He who saved me at 15 years of age and has walked me through all of this. What a wonder that He could give me hope – in HIM and blessings beyond what I could have ever wished for.
In what ways do you perhaps feel a victim in your life? Look to Jesus for your hope. Change doesn’t take place overnight but He can move you and use you for HIS glory in the midst of your pain and in the future use that experience to bless others. Hold on, dear friend.